Sep 24, 2010

ISS Change of Command

On Wednesday, Sept, 22, 2010, on his 97th day aboard the International Space Station, US Astronaut and Army Colonel Doug Wheelock accepted command of the ISS from Russian Cosmonaut Colonel Alexander "Sasha" Skvortsov. Doug had sent me an email previously describing his emotions over such an incredible event and some of the activities aboard the ISS as they prepared for this event, but currently NASA regulations prevent me from publicly sharing the contents of the email. So.... until things settle down and Doug can give me a call with the OK to share information..... I will continue sharing information that I gather from people here on planet Earth (internet, TV NASA Channel).

For the ceremony, the 6 crew members were floating comfortably, hands purposefully held to sides, with Tracy's signature pony tail circling her head. They were dressed formally, making the international aspect pointedly obvious. Sasha spoke English; Doug, Russian.
Sasha: "Today is a great day for me. I am Alexander Skvortsov, Colonel in the Russian Air Force, Cosmonaut and Commander of the ISS since May, 2010. Today, I am honored to relinquish command to US Colonel Doug Wheelock." At which point, they crossed their heart and Doug accepted command of the space station with great honor and humility.
Sasha continued, "We have been flying together over three months. It is a good example of how working peacefully together we can accomplish great things. I am sure the new ISS Commander, Doug Wheelock, will continue the great tradition of International teamwork on the ISS." The mic was then turned over to Doug.
"This is a great honor for me to accept command of the ISS," Doug started out quietly, humbly, and I thought he might get emotional. He continued, "I remember when I was a boy, it was a time of the Apollo program when we were making first friendships (with Russia) and the ISS program was a matter of dreams. Today it's a reality. The ISS program today is an example of successful cooperation, as partners, friends. This is a wonderful example for our children."
Then he turned to face Sasha, "Sasha, I wish your crew the best of luck. We will be looking forward to seeing you on the ground. We wish you safe landing and most importantly...."
---- don't hate me --- I couldn't quite catch this part of it, but I think he said, "Break a leg." or maybe he said "Don't break a leg." But he definitely finished up loud and clear with "Thank you and best wishes!" Wheelock also thanked the ground support and then added, "Thank you for joining us, it's kind of a bitter sweet moment for us because we are saying farewell to some friends. We'll see them back on planet Earth and we wish them a safe journey back to the planet and also good luck."
The next event after changing command is the Hatch Closure and then Undocking, I believe; however, they had a few minor problems and undocking has been delayed. The original plan was to land in Russia tonight, but I think the current plan is to undock tonight and land in Russia Saturday morning their time, Saturday night, our time. But I could be wrong. I'm horrible at math and all the time changes are nothing but pure, evil math. (The ISS is on "Greenwich Mean Time") ("Mean" -- see? What did I say?)
I'll have upcoming posts that discuss the purpose of the ISS, history and future, life on the ISS and hopefully some Q&A with Doug if we can get it approved. Basically, the ISS hosts an international crew for 6 months each. Currently, three Americans and three Russians have been up there. One American - Tracy Caldwell Dyson -- is returning now with two Russians -- Sasha and Mikhail Kornienko. Doug, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin will remain on board until Nov. or Dec. Three more will go up in Mid-October, including US Astronaut Scott Kelly, whose twin brother is also an astronaut.
Doug's Bio
Beautiful Pictures from space on Doug's Twitter
My first ISS post.
My second ISS post: Change of Command
My third ISS post. To Infinity & Beyond: A Young Boy's Dream?
My fourth ISS post. ISS: Home Away From Home
My fifth ISS post. One Big Science Lab
My 2nd fifth ISS post. No Vacancy
My sixth ISS post. In Which Doug has a Screw Loose, I mean a Loose Screw
My seventh ISS post. Personal note from Doug about working with the Russians
My eighth ISS post. Doug talks about the emergency on the ISS
My ninth ISS post. Everyday Life on the ISS
My tenth ISS post. Heading Home


Anonymous said...

You are lucky to know a astronaut.I am 10 and a kid and I wish I knew Mr.wheelock. I want to be oneone day.

Poof said...

You are the perfect age to start working towards that dream! Doug seems pretty sure that a kid in our schools today will be the first person to go to Mars. Maybe that's you!